Sustaining injuries in a car accident constitutes a part of life for many people. These accidents can change lives in mere minutes due to severe injuries. Many U.S. cities attempt to find ways to prevent car accidents from happening, yet they continue to occur every day.
Researchers attribute various reasons to that. Still, it often means needing legal help to navigate how to deal with the aftermath. Perhaps you face a similar situation now.
You may weigh in your mind the question of whether your car accident case has the potential to go to court. Let’s take a deep dive into how often this happens and whether a trial may prove more beneficial for you in the long run.
What Caused Your Car Accident?
Before the legal process plays out in your car accident case, you have to find out the facts about what caused it. Get legal help only after seeking treatment for your injuries.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to determine if you really have a chance toward a settlement with the negligent driver. This process starts by investigating the scene where the accident occurred.
Some of the accident scenarios that we see most frequently include:
Arguably, a head-on collision ranks as the worst type of car accident, since it involves being hit at high impact, causing more damage to your body. Both you and the negligent driver possibly had serious head injuries or broken bones as a result of the collision.
These cases require detailed evidence to find out who really caused the accident. They require your lawyer to seek evidence at the scene where the accident occurred.
One of the most typical reasons for a head-on collision involves distracted driving. However, drunk driving continues to constitute an unfortunate cause, along with driver fatigue.
Collision From the Side
Being broadsided by another driver in an intersection constitutes another common car accident scenario. These types of accidents often happen due to someone speeding through an intersection to beat a red traffic light.
Side-impact collisions also occur when cars turn out onto a street or from an intersection where drivers can’t see oncoming traffic. Serious injuries occur with these, no matter which side another vehicle hits you from.
A side collision from the driver’s side can prove more devastating to the body based on the close impact. Far too many cases end up with the driver dying from his or her injuries.
Those, like you, who do survive, often face injuries that affect the injured individuals for the rest of their lives.
Being Hit From Behind
You might suffer from serious neck injuries after being rear-ended in the middle of busy traffic. These car accidents can prove very common, sometimes more than any other type of car accident.
Just one driver talking too much to a passenger, listening to music too loudly, or looking at something else may cause that driver to smash into the back of your car.
Driving drunk (or while high on other drugs) also occurs too commonly.
Someone might hit you, causing your car to roll over multiple times, possibly down an embankment. These types of accidents sometimes result from harder crashes with trucks or other large vehicles.
Losing control of your car could also mean a mechanical defect, pinning blame on car maintenance workers or the manufacturer.
Evidence of Your Car Accident for a Trial
Always take time to recover from your car accident injuries first. Then you should get legal representation as soon as you can. Doing so means allowing your attorney to visit the scene of the accident to gather evidence.
This evidence may prove very important if your case goes to trial. Your attorney interviews witnesses and acquires all available video footage showing what happened.
All of this will prove essential if you and your attorney cannot settle with the defendant’s insurance company. Negotiations with at-fault insurance companies often prove challenging and complex. Still, you should first attempt to settle to see if you can avoid going to trial.
Some statistics to know about going to court to resolve a car accident nowadays include the following:
How Many Car Accident Cases Go to Court?
According to legal statistics, most car accident cases settle before they ever end up in a trial. A statistic like this should give you more comfort in knowing that settlements happen more often than not.
However, expect that at least 5 percent of the time, your case could go to court. You’ll prospectively end up in a trial if none of the offered settlements from the insurance company meet your expectations.
While your attorney will provide recommendations throughout your case, you will ultimately decide what happens and whether to accept a final settlement offer. Your lawyer will communicate each settlement offer to you. Only you have the power to accept an offer that you deem appropriate.
Most insurance companies are beholden to their clients and shareholders, though. These companies will look out for their best interests above your own. In other words, expect the insurance company to minimize the severity of your injuries and attempt to pay out as little compensation as possible.
In the chance that your evidence of the car accident proves inconclusive, an insurance adjuster may refuse to budge on giving you the settlement figure that you demand.
When this happens, taking your case to trial may represent your greatest chance to achieve a favorable settlement. You may also have another chance for obtaining compensation later.
Should Your Car Accident Case Go to Trial?
You may have sustained such severe injuries that they have irreparably damaged your life. You may no longer have the ability to work, leaving you with far more financial worries than you had before your accident.
As a result, you may want to take your case to court if an insurance company refuses to give you a settlement that reflects the true value of your case. Major positive aspects exist of going to trial. Much of it depends on the details of your evidence and whether you want more emotion to drive the reasons for your compensation.
One major benefit of a trial involves presenting your evidence to a jury that may understand and sympathize with your struggles. Having this advantage over presenting evidence to a judge or an insurance adjuster constitutes one major difference.
You should take this difference and potential advantage seriously when the emotion of your case moving a jury could mean winning a much bigger settlement overall.
Should you decide to go to trial, your lawyer will help you through each step along the way. You’ll want to understand each of those steps.
Presenting Your Evidence
At trial, you will present all of the evidence that you and your lawyer gathered earlier. An experienced personal injury attorney has already gone through this procedure countless times, meaning you can trust your attorney’s judgment.
Your attorney will put together a timeline of the car accident events. Telling a narrative about your life beforehand and how the car accident changed your life forever serves as a strong way to build your case.
Nevertheless, your story will likely differ from others. Whatever your narrative, proving your hardships constitutes the goal of most car accident trials.
Your attorney will present each piece of evidence in the minutest detail. Your case may have video evidence that shows exactly what the other driver did to cause the accident in the first place.
The defendant and his or her legal team also have a say, of course. The defense’s presentation will attempt to show that you caused your injuries, at least partially. Sometimes, your attorney may call in experts to better interpret what really happened if a video proves inconclusive.
Your attorney may also call witnesses, since many of them probably saw what happened from different angles. Piecing that all together helps lead to a bigger picture of who really caused the accident.
Presenting Your Medical Records
Your medical condition plays a big part in the outcome of your car accident trial. A major part of the process involves your lawyer not only presenting the physical injuries you now have to endure, but also the intangible side of this evidence.
Pain and suffering includes the psychological side of how these injuries affect your life. You may struggle to prove intangibles like this, but they constitute an important part of your compensation claim.
Mental health experts can also back up these intangible medical aspects if you’ve already sought help from these medical professionals. Unfortunately, the defendant’s legal team and the insurance company usually try to minimize this aspect of your injuries.
No one really understands the pain and suffering you face. Still, your lawyer will help paint a more vivid picture of what that suffering looks like.
Some individuals on the jury perhaps lived through similar circumstances, giving those jurors a strong sense of empathy for your situation.
Your attorney will present each medical record and bill during this phase of your trial. This includes showing all your X-rays, scans, procedures, and the bills you incurred. Your attorney will also present evidence on your possible future medical costs, for which you have the right to seek compensation.
The Length of the Trial
Some car accident cases prove complex enough to warrant lengthy trials.
If a court determines that more than one party engaged in negligence and thus bears liability for your accident, this will lengthen your trial due to the need for more testimony and analysis of evidence. No matter how long your case goes, your lawyer will lead you through each procedure.
Have faith in your attorney, because he or she has likely already helped many others get through similar circumstances. Although every case involves unique facts and circumstances, remember that your trial would never happen unless your lawyer didn’t already have faith in your evidence during the consultation phase.
Deliberations from the jury sometimes take the longest since all of the jurors have to go through the evidence and come to a verdict. Your case may result in a hung jury, leading to a possible retrial with another jury.
Car accident cases seldom have juries that can’t come to a verdict. Most state laws require 3/4 of a jury to agree to a verdict for a proper legal decision. In the chance that you receive an unfavorable verdict, you always have the option of appeal. Without a timely appeal, the court will likely render a final judgment, making it impossible to go to trial again.
Suing for Punitive Damages
Another legal step beyond the usual trial involves suing for punitive damages, often known as exemplary damages. Suing for punitive damages means suing the defendant directly for your injuries.
You may pursue this option after winning an initial settlement from the insurance company. Seeking punitive damages typically involves a similar trial as discussed above, with emphasis on demonstrating the severity of the at-fault party’s actions.
Your attorney will present evidence that proves the other driver owed you a duty of care and breached it. For instance, toxicology reports may indicate that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Other evidence may show that the at-fault driver willfully crashed into you due to some form of road rage.
Injured individuals generally seek punitive damages to send a strong message to the other driver and to deter similar behavior in the future. By requested punitive damages, you’ll send the message that you don’t want this to happen again or for anyone else to suffer similar injuries in the future.
Whether or not you can actually collect compensation from the at-fault driver will depend on that driver’s financial condition. Suing a company for punitive damages occasionally brings successful compensation due to their more significant financial resources.
After gathering all of the evidence for your case, you and your lawyer may determine that a company bears liability for your injuries in the car accident. A car manufacturer, for example, might bear liability for brake failure in the car that hit you.
Get Legal Help Now!
Contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately if you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident. You want a firm with experienced trial lawyers who will work with you to achieve maximum results given your specific circumstances.
Thanks to our high-quality representation and personalized environment, you can rest easy if you know that your case is in good hands if your case proceeds to trial.
Compassionate attorneys understand that when you recover from injuries, you don’t want to deal with stress about your case in the interim. Retain an attorney that will stand by you every step of the way, starting with a free initial consultation.